Posted on February 8, 2013
My Top 100: #21 – Super Mario Galaxy
It’s fairly difficult to come up with an interesting “retro” story when a game is a bit newer, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.
When the Nintendo Revolution was re-branded as the Wii at E3 in 2006, it left a lot of us scratching our heads. We were still wrapping our minds around the idea of a remote control “baton”, but trying not to make childish jokes about the male anatomy became the new challenge.
Along with the name change, Nintendo showed new footage of titles we were expecting, and some we were not. Wii Sports, Excite Truck, Wario Ware and Metroid Prime 3 were definitely going to make the most of the new control scheme, and I was quite intrigued by all of them. Red Steel looked incredible, as well!
The Mario game shown in the console’s demo video looked cool, but it seemed like you could get pretty dizzy going around those little planets. I wasn’t convinced the game would be anything spectacular, especially since Sunshine had been slightly disappointing.
Thankfully, I was proven wrong.
This game is the ultimate realization of the dream Shigeru Miyamoto had when making Super Mario 64. There are no F.L.U.D.D.-like gimmicks; just fantastic platforming with such a wide variety of gameplay elements that it’ll rock your socks off.
For example, you had to re-think the whole concept of “walking off the edge”. What was a death trap in prior games was now an invitation for you to take a chance, and to see if you could explore the underside of the world you were on. It was always an interesting feeling during those brief moments where you weren’t completely sure if you were going to plummet to your death, or have the camera flip upside-down with you as gravity kept you planted on the surface.
Wall jumps, double and triple-jumps and long jumps were all back. With a quick shake of the Wii Remote, Mario could spin in mid-air and extend his hangtime for just a smidge longer. This new move really helped your ability to tackle some of the challenges the game threw at you – and there were many, as evidenced by the video below!
Although Galaxy didn’t quite have the impact other games in the series had, it’s still one of the best platformers I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing through more than once.
As I mentioned in the Wind Waker post, Nita and I jumped at the opportunity to live in a great apartment in the heart of the downtown area.
For a hundred years, the Hartt Boot and Shoe Factory cranked out more than 2,000 pairs of footwear a day. They even manufactured boots for the military during both World Wars, as well as the boots worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which my father was a member of. Unfortunately, the factory shut its doors in 1999, exactly 100 years after the first shoe had been made. The building went up for sale shortly after, and though it took a few years for plans to come together, the Shoe Factory was eventually renovated into an apartment complex.
Nita’s living situation just so happened to be at a crossroad, what with roommates moving out and leases being at their end. I thought it would be the cute, spontaneous and heroic thing to do to bail this wonderful person out of the pickle she was in. I wasn’t sure if I’d be moving into the apartment she was already living in, or what the deal would be.
As it turned out, a friend of hers (who was a realtor) told us about a vacancy in the old Hartt Shoe Factory building. That same night, we checked it out, and immediately fell in love with the place. It had high ceilings, huge windows, a patio door – I mean, there was no actual patio, and there was a railing so you wouldn’t fall down, but still! Patio doors, man!
What better way to get a fresh start than in awesome old building like this one!
Unfortunately, our stay at this apartment only lasted one year. I was still learning about how to live out on my own, and was bouncing around a few different jobs at the time. We were both stressed out throughout the time we lived there, and though I still felt we had a rock-solid relationship, I don’t think either of us were ever really happy with that living situation. For some reason, it just never felt like home, and by the time Christmas of ’07 came around, we had started looking at other places to live.
Looking back, I have absolutely no regrets about moving into that place. It was a tumultuous learning experience, but a learning experience nonetheless.
Strangely enough, it was when we knew our days at the Shoe Factory were numbered that the place started feeling more cozy. We moved the stuff in our bedroom around, put up some different posters, bought a few colourful lamps, and it really spruced the place up! I was still glad to be getting out of there, but at least we’d be able to say the last few months were kinda fun.
Super Mario Galaxy was one of the gifts I had recieved that Christmas, and I started playing through it right away. We didn’t have any plans for New Year’s Eve, since I had to work that day anyway. I was just going to drive home, play some Galaxy, and would probably end up hitting the sack before 2008 came around. I was always seemed to be wickedly tired those days…
Anyhow, there was a massive snow storm that day. I called my mom at the library, and told her she probably shouldn’t be driving too far that night. I suggested she should drive down the hill to our place and stay the night, which she ended up doing.
That night, it was Anita, Mom and myself, and we were all drinking wine or Guinness while I played Super Mario Galaxy. It kinda reminded me of the old days in my grandmother’s bedroom, having a video game party with candy and snacks. Instead of candy and snacks, it was liquor, and instead of just my mom, it was also woman I was thinking would probably become my wife.
Much like those days at my grandmother’s, however, we were all in bed by 10:00pm. Happy New Year!